Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and join the Golden State Warriors as a free agent last summer was met with loads of criticism. One man who has criticized Durant often, including for his 2016 free-agent choice, is ESPN “First Take” panelist Stephen A. Smith.
On Sunday’s special NBA Finals edition of “First Take,” three days after Durant scored 38 points in leading the Warriors to a convincing win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals, his mom, Wanda Durant, defended her son against Smith’s criticism.
Smith was not at Sunday’s show because he’s with his family after his mother died earlier in the week.
“I thought (what Smith said) was quite harsh. It’s like, ‘who are you, Stephen A., to come at my boy like that?’ When he came to ESPN? Was that a weak move for him?” Wanda Durant said.
“He joined some more heavy hitters, right? To up his career, right? To do what was best for him. That’s what he did, right? No one called him weak for that. So why call me son weak for doing the same thing he did?”
Durant’s mother is exactly right. Smith moved to ESPN many years ago, a network already loaded with exceptional talent when he arrived. It was a good move for his career. Durant did the same thing for his career by joining a Warriors roster that already featured some of the NBA’s top players.
It’s not often we hear reasonable, well thought out arguments on “First Take,” so it was nice to see Durant’s mom bring some of that to one of ESPN’s most popular programs.
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images